One of the major objections to a deadline for an American Troop withdrawal is, knowing the deadline the Taliban will just bide their time until the Americans get out of Dodge. According to the ranking U.S. Marine general, President Barack Obama’s announced July 2011 deadline to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is giving “sustenance” to the Taliban.
“We know the president was talking to several audiences at the same time when he made his comments on July 2011,” Gen. James Conway told reporters on Tuesday. “In some ways, we think right now it’s probably giving our enemy sustenance….In fact, we’ve intercepted communications that say, ‘Hey, you know, we only have to hold out for so long.’”
Conway, who recently returned from a trip to the region, said he expected Marines to remain on the ground in southern Afghanistan, the traditional stronghold for the Taliban, well after July 2011, though he himself is set to retire in the fall.
“I certainly believe that some American units somewhere in Afghanistan will turn over responsibilities to Afghanistan security forces in 2011, I do not think they will be Marines,” he said.
This was his last Pentagon briefing before retiring, which may have have freed up Gen Conway tongue a bit. He also said the withdrawal date was not realistic that some Afghan units “somewhere” might be able to assume the lead for security next year but not in the south, the “birthplace” of the Taliban insurgency where fighting is concentrated.
Conway admitted that public support for the war was declining, but he warned that “we can either lose fast or win slow”.
He said the Marines would continue to go after the Taliban, regardless of the 2011 deadline. “If you accept what I offered earlier as true, that Marines will be there … after the middle of 2011, what’s the enemy going to say then, you know?” he said.
Bottom line is that Political deadline insisted on by the President’s progressive base, is bad for the war effort, and may even cause the the war to be extended of the the Taliban “lie low” till the summer of 2011.